I took on a Skype Only Seven Day Challenge last week, which turned out to be a huge success! I had to rely on Skype video chat, voice calling, and Instant Messaging (ONLY) if I had to communicate or get in touch with any of my friends, family members, or colleagues.
Incase you haven’t heard, I announced that MamaNYC is an official Skype ambassador! You can read all about my Skype ambassador announcement, which was made in early May 2012, and also a brief rundown on how much we love, use, and obsess over Skype in our house.
If not for Skype, I would have missed out on a lot of hilarious conversations with friends. Our son wouldn’t get to sing and dance for our relatives around the United States. My aunts and uncles in California are very familiar faces for our 3-year-old son, which is something I am very grateful for and know their long-distance relationship as relatives would not be possible without Skype.
Remember when you were a young girl or boy and family reunions meant seeing faces that you did not remember at all? Aunt Margie? I would not remember her! I had not seen her since I was 5 – and now I was 7! Two whole years feels like a lifetime for children, so we can now keep in touch with our loved ones through Skype video messages!
Beyond making life more connected and giving us the ability to see and talk with loved ones around the world, Skype also makes life easier! There are so many different products, services, and options available through Skype and I love that I can take advantage of them no matter where I am, or which device I am currently using at the time.
As an ambassador for Skype, I was asked to complete a Skype (ONLY!) Seven Day Challenge. What does that mean exactly? Well, I guess you could say it means exactly what it says. I was challenged to use Skype product offerings for one week and nothing else.
If I wanted to call my husband to ask him to bring milk home for our son, I had to reach him through Skype. If I wanted to call my mom and tell her my son got a haircut, I opened my laptop and video chatted with my son on my lap, which was great since she could actually see his new (adorable!) haircut as opposed to just telling her!
I know what you are thinking (No, I actually do!): "How is that even POSSIBLE?" – and I am here to answer all of your questions. Have no fear, I can see you are scared and worried about whether or not I was able to complete my 7-day challenge by burying my cellphone in my closet for a week. Did my family ever get that gallon of milk we needed? Was my husband able to hear me clearly and without any static interrupting? Did I survive and am I still sane and competent enough to talk about Skype? YES, YES, and OH YES! (Wait – did I say YES enough?)
First, I will explain the three Skype services that are available →
Video Chat: Skype’s face-to-face communication service that they are most popularly known for is their video chat. Users can utilize various platforms to chat with loved ones through video, which includes computers, smartphones, etc. Connecting, watching, and listening to your loved ones is made possible through the installation of a webcam, microphone, and your internet connection. Once you have all of these materials, simply download Skype and add contacts that you wish to video call. Before you know it, Aunt Margie will be in your living room listening to your kids talk about their excitement to start summer camp next week!
Voice Calling: (Skype to Skype) Did you know that you can also use Skype to make voice calls, which makes a connection similar to Skype video chat service. This service only requires a microphone and Internet connection.
Instant Messaging: Skype’s Instant Messaging (IM) service makes it very easy to talk with friends, family, and colleagues through chat. You can elect to have a one-on-one chat with your mom, or create a group chat with several of your friends for a Friday night online get together!
Between the three services available from Skype, I was able to complete my Skype Only Seven Day Challenge without any trouble. Replacing my cellphone with Skype video chat, video calling, and instant messaging services was a breeze!
I was afraid at first and thought this was going to be difficult, but I quickly discovered life with Skype was actually EASIER!
Here are a few examples that I wrote down throughout the week, which covers the challenge we confronted as a family – and how I quickly overcame them without any trouble through Skype services!
|THE CHALLENGE||NORMALLY USED. . .||SKYPE SOLUTION|
|Call my husband to ask him to bring home baby wipes after work.||Cellphone||Skype Voice Calling|
|Text message our address to my girlfriend since we are having a dinner party at our place!||Text messaging via. my cellphone||Skype Instant Messaging|
|Call my mom to tell her my son got a haircut and that I am emailing a picture to her so she can see it!||Cellphone and email||Skype Video Chat|
|Share our news with relatives in Connecticut that we are expecting our second child – We’re Pregnant!||Cellphone||Skype Video Chat|
As you can see, I had a very busy week and I was able to solve a lot of problems with communicating with loved ones quite easily! Actually, I think my week went a LOT smoother and made getting in touch with loved ones a lot easier.
Instead of having my mom open up her email to see a picture of our sons new haircut, I decided to give her a quick Skype Video Chat call to check it out for herself! We knocked out a lot of time and steps normally required (cellphone, opening email, calling back to say "I got the email!").
Another thing that I would like to talk about is Skype Paid Services. Although most of Skype’s services are free, I do recommend purchasing Skype credits for the ability to use their premium services.
Skype Premium allows users to enjoy group video calling features. Group video calls can be between three or more people (max. 10), which gives you plenty of room to have a great virtual get together with a group of friends or family! Premium servicessubscribing for a full month, or you can opt to try Skype’s day passes.which is useful when you want to get in touch for a special holiday or event – niece’s birthday, Christmas, or cousin’s graduation day!
Skype’s rates are very affordable and cheap enough for you to keep in touch with friends, family members, and colleagues year round – and beat my seven day challenge! For example, SMS rates start at only 4.7¢ per message.
Purchasing Skype Credit is very easy and you’ll be ready to take advantage of premium services in seconds! Filling up your Skype account with credits is super easy → pay with your credit card and fill your account up with Skype Credits so that you can start video chatting with your relatives around the globe in minutes!
Skype Credit is how you will pay for features that are not free. Use them to make calls to landline and mobile phones around the world, buy your own online phone number so that your friends and family members without Skype can call YOU, or send SMS messages and forward your calls! The possibilities are honestly endless – there is nothing you cannot do with Skype services!
Did you know that you can also use Skype Credit to buy subscription to connect to over 200,000 WiFi hotspots worldwide through the Skype WiFi service?
Even though my friends and family members said this was going to be a TOUGH week, I beg to differ. Sure, I was a little nervous before my challenge began, but I knew Skype was going to be there when I needed it – no matter what the scenario.
Skype has made my life a lot easier as a mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, blogger, and business owner. I am able to communicate with other bloggers through Skype if we want to chat about upcoming events and conferences, such as BlogHer ’12 in New York! I can show my son off to my cousins in California, or surprise them with an ultrasound picture as it makes its way into our webcams view!
Now that we are expecting baby #2 in January 2013, I am much more grateful for a service like Skype. Sharing our pregnancy news, belly growth, baby news, and birth will be so much easier thans to Skype!
Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Skype. I received Skype credits to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.